Monday, April 14, 2014

Shanghai Museum - A Glimpse into China's Past

       In a big City Like Shanghai there are many museums, or so I am told. There is one Museum known as the Shanghai Museum, which has a very modern outward appearance, but inside it is contains many ancient relics of China’s past. According to their website, www.shanghaimuseum.net, there are eleven galleries that showcase many types of art including sculptures, paintings, and calligraphy. Some sculptures are made from a popular mineral known as jade. Jade is a medium chosen by many artists and sculptors for its beauty and meaning in Chinese Culture. Jade is said to even contain healing properties. I will be particularly interested to examine the Jade art. I have always admired it for its natural beauty.

       Museums are the window through which we look into the past. I like museums because they often house the proof that the past actually happened. You and I were not in the past so we cannot testify to its existence. Without the artifacts housed inside of museums we could never really verify that the past even occurred. Without museums we would never really know what has come before us, if anything at all. So a visit to the Shanghai museum will be a glimpse into China’s past. Consider the Jade Exhibit, no doubt will there be priceless artifacts from the past, each with a unique story of how it came to be. With that story and that artifact comes a physical link to the past that is otherwise completely gone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The GREAT WALL



Throughout the trip we visited plenty of beautiful destinations but I have to say that the highlight of the trip was the Great Wall. The Great Wall of China; the only man made structure that can be viewed from the moon. Although Pr. Yao didn’t think so, I used Google Earth and was able to see it. It was nice to see that the Wall was located a little bit out of the city, this way we would get the chance to breathe better air. It was also nice to see mountains for a change. The part that we visited was small, but we still got a chance to see a decent part of the Wall. I am guessing the view would have been better if I was all the way on top, but due to physical limitations I wasn’t able to get all the way on top. I wasn’t discouraged though, the uneven steps of the Wall made for a difficult challenge. I still got a certificate that said that I climbed the Wall.

One of the most interesting days in class while being at JinGiao was the day that we held an open discussion with the students of the college. The presentations from both groups were not of the best quality, but I think that both groups had doubts about the requirements of the presentations. Everyone in the room was uncomfortable and shy, we all warmed up very quickly. Although I found some of the topics to be of great interest, I also thought that some questions were simply childish. I was surprised to find out that their perception about the United States and Americans is mainly formed by what they see in the movies. “Do you all have guns in your houses? Are there a lot of car chases around the city?” Questions of this nature were not only funny, but they also showed the minimal contact that the students had with the American culture. Their proficient English speaking skills had me quessing otherwise until I heard the questions. Something else that also struck me during this meeting was the relationship students had with their professor. During the discussion Pr. Chen was loud and ordered students to take positions around the room. Taking from their responses I got the feeling that they didn’t have much of a choice. Students are very obedient to their professors. I believe this is good in certain occasions, but overall students should be able to make their own decisions and form their own opinions. During their college education, students should be making important decisions and forming their characters, if they follow orders all the time, or listen blindly to their professors, then it is likely that they will take on the same personalities as their professors. I was relieved to find out that my classmates agreed with me on this. The situation made us cherish our educational system, one which allows for an open interaction between students and professors.

I was very disappointed with the food that we had in China, I am a big fan of the American-Chinese food in the States so I was expecting something similar, perhaps even better. I was surprised to find out that most of the food served was unsalted, and at times, tasteless. Nonetheless I tried almost all of the items served in front of me. I believe that as a group we really disliked soup, which is a main part of the Chinese meal. I think that the beast meals that we had on the trip, were in Beijing, specifically, the picked duck. The duck and all the other foods served with that meal made out for an incredible dinner. Something else that I was not used to, was having three meals a day. Although this is customary in the Chinese culture, in the US, I eat only when I have time or remember to do so. Also, my experience from McDonalds and KFC wasn’t much different from the United States. The food wasn’t the best part of the trip, but I was always able to find something that I liked.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

ERA- Intersection of Time

Era is a modern arena for acrobatic and circus performances. It is a seat circus theater with a revolving stage, computer- controlled lighting and state- of- the- art acoustics. ERA- Intersection of Time is a complete source of entertainment for it presents amazing acrobats. One is enchanted by the world that is created through the use of multimedia, technology, lighting and sound effects, elaborate costumes, original live music and a lot more.

The show from ERA was one of the most exciting and breathtaking shows that I have ever seen. I have seen acrobatic shows before, but nothing compared to what we saw in Shanghai. What I thought was different about this show, was the fact that it combined the performances, a light show, and live music. Some of the most interesting performances on the show were the jumping acrobats, the motorcycle show and the couple flying around the stage. Some of the performances were so dangerous that they had us with our mouth open. I remember walking out and the only thing I could say was “WOW that was amazing!”

http://www.cityguideshanghai.com/entertainment/era.html

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Driving

I thought that the way the Chinese drive in their crowded cities was one of the most entertaining things to observe while traveling on the bus.  They drive so aggressively and quick with almost no errors.  They merge much better there than they do here in America.  Most traffic jams are caused because of merging from people getting on the highway.  Modern capitalistic China has allowed for millions to own cars, and therefore they will have congested streets, but because of their system of letting people in, aggressive merging, and talented urban driving skills the traffic is not nearly has bad as it should be.  Cities like D.C. and New York are wretched driving cities and it is often faster to walk, but if all American drivers were taught to drive the way they do in Shanghai and Beijing then we would be a lot better off.    In Chengdu, a Chinese driving licence is issued if you can achieve a pass rate of 90% in the computerized theory test of one hundred (mostly) multiple choice questions. Tests are available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish and so on. If you do not pass at 90%, you can do a second test without paying any further fee.  This is a relatively high score for a drivers exam, but it shows they know what they are doing when they pass.  It was always exciting to weave in and out of traffic, I really wanted to get on a scooter there, but I think i would have been killed.  Their were times when i could reach out my window and touch the drivers face across from us because we had gotten so close in our lanes. It mad every trip go by a lot faster, and I would rather watch the Chinese drive than a movie any day. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

2008 Olympics and national pride

I am pretty sure that at this point, we are all familiar with the fact that Beijing is hosting the Olympics.  But what really surprised me about the trip was how excited the country, not only the residents of Beijing, are about the upcoming games.  
I was struck with the differences between this and the most recent American Olympiad, which I think was Atlanta 1996.  Granted I was young, but I do not recall the entire country preparing for the event anywhere near like the Chinese are doing.  I was most surprised at how the Olympiad was being advertised within Shanghai, several hundred miles away.  The road from the airport was dotted with many billboards advertising and supporting the Olympiad. 
Likewise, when it came time for my host family, the Olympics were part of our discussion.  My host's family was curious what I thought about the preparations and buildings.  Conversation drifted to what they thought of the games, which of course consisted of the stock answer of it being a way for China to show off to the world.
While this is no doubt true, I do not think that this hits at the heart of the matter.  Many Americans still have misconceptions of Chinese products as being shotty or cheap.  While this may have been true in the past, China is today able to produce some extremely high quality products such as Lenovo computers and Haier appliances.  I think that the Chinese are dealing with this stereotype as best they can, and seek to showcase their strengths to the world.  This showcase though, is not just a showcase, it is also a pursuit to shatter common misconceptions about the quality of life and the advancement of this Asian nation.